Day 12: Leaving Beirut
Beirut Travel Blog› entry 20 of 54 › view all entries
I was sad to leave Lebanon. This country had made a huge impression on me. On one hand this country is torn apart by war and conflict (first the civil war, and now someone else's war being fought on their soil), but on the other hand the people are remarkably resilient, and will simply continue their lives as much as they can. And I have nothing but the deepest and utmost respect for these people.
They're living in this small country locked in between two powerful enemies. On side is Syria, which still shows an unhealthy interest in this country. In 2006 a hugely popular Lebanese government official was assassinated and it is widely speculated that the Syrian secret service was behind this. On the other side is Israel, and its intentions could be called vague at best. Two soldiers got kidnapped by people from a nearby refugee camp, and rather than sending a force to that refugee camp Israel occupied the entire southern part of Lebanon instead and bombed the whole infrastructure of the country.
Some people I have spoken to claimed it had nothing to with the kidnapped soldiers, but it was simply because the Lebanese economy was doing so well and the country was becoming too powerful.
It had taken Lebanon 14 years to rebuild, it took Israel only 14 days to destroy most of that.
On my MP3 player I played the song 'Leaving Beirut' by Roger Waters. This song is about the genuine hospitality of the people in this region, and questions whether or not it is such a good idea to try and solve all problems with violence.
The lyrics of the song are based on his own experience when he visited the country in the sixties. I have posted a video from Youtube to this blog - worth hearing, really.
A snippet of the lyrics:
"Are these the people that we should bomb?
Are we so sure they mean us harm?
Is this our pleasure, punishment or crime?
Is this a mountain that we really want to climb?
Every time a smart bomb does its sums and gets it wrong
Someone else's child dies and equities in defence rise
America, America, please hear us when we call
Don't let the might of the Christian right, fuck it all up
For you and the rest of the world!"